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The 9 essential push notifications in travel

Push notifications are the best way for travel brands to connect with business travelers throughout their end-to-end journey. From travel policy reminders and check-in notices, to travel alerts and flight disruptions, no other communication channel can deliver the same immediate impact when it comes to traveler engagement. In fact, studies have found that click-through rates for push messages can be up to eight times higher than email.

Why? Well, it comes down to three things: context, personalization and timing. Push messages can be more segmented and targeted than email. They can be delivered based on the traveler’s activity or location, and they can reach the traveler in an instant. By the time you send an email and have the traveler open it, your message could already be out of date (like a flight status update).

Here, we’re giving you some inspiration on the types of push notifications your travel brand can use to drive engagement, reduce costs for your corporate clients and raise your brand’s profile.

The 'Welcome' push

When a user first downloads your app, you can spark engagement with them by sending a welcome message.

The first 90 days after a user downloads your app are key, as 95% of opt-in users who don’t receive a push message within this time will uninstall. For TMCs and agencies this especially significant, as users who download your app have likely either booked a trip or intend on doing so soon—so time really is of the essence if you want to increase app retention rates. 

Send your users a welcome message letting them know all the great things they can do to manage their business trip with your app soon after they download it.

 

Welcome push

 

The ‘Cost savings’ push

If you’re interested in saving costs for your corporate clients—and let’s face it, what TMC isn’t?—then push notifications can be a great way to achieve this. 

Send a push message to encourage end travelers to book flights or hotels within their company’s travel policy and through preferred partners. You can also let them know if the period for a free cancellation on their hotel is about to expire or remind them to take out insurance on a rental car at their destination.

By encouraging in-policy bookings, you’re helping your clients save costs—which ultimately boosts your brand’s profile in the eyes of your customers. 

Cost saving

 

The ‘Reminder to book’ push

One of the best things about mobile marketing is the level of personalization you can achieve. By using the data you have on users’ trips, you can send relevant and personal push messages that will boost engagement rates. 

Let’s say a traveler is flying to a destination with a return flight leaving from a different city and has no rail booked. You could send them a push about company car hire deals. This is a perfect opportunity to fill in any gaps in the end traveler’s trip, creating a more joined-up journey and an overall better experience for the traveler. 

Top tip: A great way to drive engagement with these kinds of messages is to send rich notifications using images, videos, GIFs or audio (the latter two are iOS only). These are proven to have a significant impact on engagement and can increase notification open rates by 56%.

 

Reminder to book

 

The ‘Duty of care’ push

Push notifications can go a long way in assisting with duty of care, whether it’s for a flight cancellation, risk alert or immigration security issue. This can include forwarding automated messages from your risk alert provider to travelers in high risk areas, or sending notifications manually to users in a particular location. 

Most importantly you can also build in a safety check-in, asking travelers to manually reply to risk alert push messages to let their travel manager know that they are safe.

Security alert

 

The ‘Travel disruption’ push

Sending a push notification with flight delay updates, information on what to do or even complimentary airport vouchers allows your TMC to be there for the traveler when the chips are down. It also enables your TMC or agency to remain relevant to the traveler and keeps your brand front and central in their minds throughout the trip.

Sending a message with instructions on what to do in the event of travel disruption also helps to reduce the number of customer queries coming through, which frees up your agents’ time to deal with more complex issues.  

Travel disruption

 

The ‘Policy reminder’ push

One of the best use cases for push messaging for travel brands is to send a notification to customers with hotel or transport gaps in their itinerary. This reduces the chance of them booking out of policy. Not only does this reduce leakage but it also improves duty of care, giving you full visibility over your traveler’s trip.

Messages can also be sent based on in-app actions. This means you could send a push notification to a traveler who is looking at hotels out of policy and remind them of the companies preferred hotels. 

This is a level of personalization that is difficult to achieve without push, as it sends a relevant and timely message based on actions that are currently taking place. 

Stay in policy

 

The ‘In-destination’ push

Where a user is when they receive your notification significantly contributes to their level of engagement. In a recent survey 42% of those questioned said they would use an app more if it sent push messages triggered by their current location. 

Given that location-based messaging is one of the most unique features of mobile marketing and sets it apart from other channels, it’s important to use it correctly to communicate with travelers. There are a few different ways you can target users based on their location.

  • Geotargeting: This approach involves messaging a user based on their current location. This can play a huge role in terms of duty of care, for example messaging all travelers in a certain risk area requesting an ‘I’m safe’ reply (like in the below example from BCD Travel).  

BCD screen
  • Geofencing: Although a similar concept to geotargeting, geofencing is slightly more complex in that it involves messaging a user once they cross a predefined virtual perimeter. This allows TMCs and agencies to message users once they reach a particular location—like a business meeting, or at their hotel.
  • Beacons: TMCs and agencies can also target users who get within a certain range of a beacon. One use case would be to notify travelers of in-policy restaurants in their hotel when they are in reception.

The ‘New feature’ push

Keeping users engaged with your app can be a challenge, but sending the right push notifications can help to boost retention rates and reduce churn. If you’re adding significant new features or benefits to your app, you should be ready to shout about it. Showing your users the value of your app by sending a push notification about a new feature will keep them coming back.  

New feature

 

The ‘Feedback’ push

Once the trip is over, you can use push notifications to gather feedback on hotels, flights or even your own travel brand’s service or app. Again, this is where timing and context really come into play. Notifications must take into account who the user is, where they are and (most importantly for TMCs and agencies), they must be relevant to the traveler’s trip. 

Send the push notification soon after the traveler has completed the specific part of the trip you’re requesting feedback on. Our rules-based console, Travelport Engage, allows travel managers and agents to target users based on the context of their trip; for example, sending the notification after the latest check-out time in their hotel. 

Feedback

 

Build your push strategy

A well thought out and planned push notification strategy is now more important for TMCs and agencies than any other travel vertical. Push messaging for TMCs and agencies can affect costs, reduce leakage, gain visibility of your travelers’ full trip, make sure your agency stays front of mind, and above all, ensure that your travelers are safe, wherever they are in the world.

This article has covered just some of the types of push notifications you can start building into your messaging strategy. However, the messages you send and their timing, frequency and personalization will all depend on your customers. Find out more about how Travelport Engage can help you to create relevant and contextual push messages using traveler profiles and live trip data.

To learn more about creating great, targeted messages for every stage of the traveler journey, read our new 27-page eBook Push notifications for travel brands: An ultimate guide.

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Glenville Morris, Product Director - Digital Insights

Glenville has over 12 years experience as a digital & mobile professional in the travel, entertainment & retail sectors. Prior to joining Travelport Digital Glenville worked at easyJet across analytics, mobile marketing & was the product owner for easyJet mobile. At Travelport Digital Glenville heads up the Digital Insights team looking at market trends, operating system updates and how new mobile technologies will affect the travel industry.

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